“Money is a needful and precious thing, –and, when well used, a noble thing, –but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for.”

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Making Good On That Allowance

Summer is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to enforce the beloved Chore Chart! I know, I should be doing it all year long, but hey, we’re BUSY! I’m talking hit the door running, from sun-up to sun-down busy. So while I still make my kids do chores, it’s not so much an organized, established list of chores as much as a, “I washed and folded your clothes, now would you please put them up? Can you put your clothes up? Did you hear me? Yes now! PUT YOUR CLOTHES UP!” Kinda chores.

Chore Charts are great because they set a standard and expectation that help to eliminate the above frantic dialog between mom and child. At least that’s the idea. If you make a list of daily chores with a price tag on them, kids seem to be more willing and ready to accomplish their tasks. It’s a great way to keep the house tidy AND teach the importance of hard work and earning money. Win/Win!

Okay now, lets get down to the part I struggle with…actually paying them! 🙂 I never have cash. Never. So one week turns into two of me saying, “I’m going to the bank today!” It just doesn’t happen. Who goes to the bank anymore? Aight nobody got time for that! Which led me to do some research last year. I wanted to find a way to transfer money to my kids from my bank account, eliminating the trip to the bank. After reading through different bank account restrictions for kids, I quickly realized that setting up an actual bank account for each of my 4 kids was not a practical thing for us to do right now. Then I stumbled upon a solution–Greenlight Card for Kids.

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees (or in gardens)

The Greenlight Card is a card that kids can use like any other debit or credit card…except you can control it! Once you download the app, you are able to transfer money straight to your kid’s card, set limits on where they can spend, and track all their purchases. Having a card like mom and dad just makes sense. We don’t pull out a wad of ones every time we go to Target. We scan our stuff at the self checkout, look at ourselves in the security camera–realize we didn’t brush our hair or put make-up on, and then we SWIPE that card!

The first time one of my daughters took her Greenlight Card shopping, she realized she didn’t have enough money to buy all the things she put in her basket. Oops! She had to put something back. I asked her what happened, and her response was, “I didn’t know about the tax!” Well, there you go, lesson learned. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and you can’t forget about the tax man!

I didn’t run to her rescue and pay the difference, instead I let her learn the value of a dollar. However, if she were in a situation where I needed to get her money fast, the parent app allows immediate money transfers from your account to your child’s. That could come in handy when they are a little older and out on their own more.

Photo Credit: iStock Tetiana Soares

Spending Wisely

Allowing your kids to make choices is great, but there may be some places you just don’t want them to shop. The money you give your child is divided into two categories: Spend Anywhere money, and money they can spend ONLY at specific stores you approve. Maybe they spend ALL their money on pens at Target (ahem), and you want to ban Target for a while until they get over their pen obsession. You can do that. This is just a set of controls that allow the parent to have some oversight on their kid’s spending

Since most older kids have smart phones now, they can link their card to Apple Pay, which is pretty cool. So even if they don’t have their card with them, and they most definitely will have their precious phones, they can still make purchases in most stores with Apple Pay.

Teaching Your Kids To Save

Saving is the most important part of learning how to manage your money. Kids have the ability to set up a savings with the Greenlight Card. They can even program their account to automatically distribute their allowance into different categories: savings, charity, and spending. I LOVE this! These are real grown-up choices that your kids can start learning now.

It gets even better though, you know we adults like to have a savings account with a decent interest rate…if you can find it. Well, Greenlight lets you set an interest rate on your kid’s savings. The interest they earn will come from your pocket, but it is a great way to teach them and encourage them to save! What a great lesson to learn early on, before they are making and blowing real income.

A Charitable Heart

So teaching your kids to save is one thing, but it takes a charitable heart to set aside money for others. Hopefully this is something you can instill in your kids while they are young. Nothing can take the place of physically volunteering your time to help serve others, but in some cases donating money is even better!

Let your child pick a charity that is near and dear to their hearts. Maybe it’s animals, the ocean, babies, other children, health conditions, you name it–there is most likely a charity for it, and what a great way to help them learn the feelings of serving in a monetary way.

Who knows, you might light a fire in their hearts for a lifelong journey of giving. That could make a huge different in the lives of others, and it all started with you.

Photo Credit: iStock Nastia11

No More Lost Cash

I don’t know about you, but my kids lose stuff. Even really important stuff–like money! Having a card system instead of cash means no more lost cash and no more loose change. If they lose their card, you can immediately shut it down. If you find it in a couple days, you can turn it back on. No big deal. This feature gives you piece of mind.

And here’s the fun part: you can customize your kid’s card with any picture that you want. This is pretty neat, and it is also useful if you have multiple kids. They can easily identify and recognize their own card. Just in case sister doesn’t have enough money for those new color fountain pens at Target, and she thinks maybe her money hoarding sister won’t notice that her card is gone–guess again! You can have a picture of each precious face on their own card. 🙂

I am not an affiliate of Greenlight Card, but I do love it and have a coupon code to share: Click HERE for a $10 credit when you sign up.

Happy Spending, Saving, Giving…